Can I claim injury compensation if I've left the company?

What happens when someone is involved in a workplace accident, but leaves the company without making any claim for compensation?

Perhaps at the time it was felt that the accident did not warrant bringing a claim, but there has since been a deterioration in health due to the injuries sustained.

Or an illness has developed as a result of working conditions, but only been diagnosed after a person has left the company.

Perhaps no previous claim was made out of a sense of loyalty to the employer and colleagues; fearing any compensation paid would come from company profits.

Injured woman with headache concerned about making claim against her employer

Can a claim be brought at a later date?

All employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment for their employees, but despite the measures put in place, accidents at work can happen. For this reason, businesses are legally required to have employers' liability insurance, which will cover the cost of any compensation claims.

This cover extends to employees who subsequently leave the company, if the injury or illness can be attributed to an accident or working conditions at that former workplace.

How long after the accident can a claim be brought?

A claim may be brought within 3 years of the accident or within 3 years of discovering that the injury or illness was caused by the working environment. This is particularly important where an illness caused by a workplace environment has taken many years to become apparent.

If an illness has been fatal, the 3 year limitation commences from the date of death, or a post mortem where an illness has been undiagnosed.

If the claimant dies while in the process of dealing with their work accident case, the 3 year deadline will begin from the date of their death to allow their family time to continue with the claim.

What if the company no longer exists?

In some situations, particularly where an illness has taken years to develop, the company where the claimant worked is no longer in business.

Providing that employers' liability insurance was in place at the time of employment the insurer should still meet the claim. It will be necessary to establish who the insurer was.

How to make a claim

A successful claim depends on showing that injury or illness was due to the employer's negligence.

Details of any workplace incident and any injuries sustained should have been reported and recorded at the time.

If the illness has been caused by exposure to hazards then it may be necessary to prove a link between the illness and the employment.

Employers' liability claims claims

Work accident claims, or employers' liability claims, differ from other types of claim. Click on the icons below to read more about claiming:

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